Film Comment Back Issues 728x90 Film Society of Lincoln Center

Short Takes: Hanna

By Chris Chang

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(Joe Wright, U.S., 2011)

Hanna

When compiling the in-production  news items for each edition of this magazine there are times when the Plausibility Alarm goes off. Last year, we reported that Saoirse Ronan was scheduled to play a “lean, mean, killing machine,” and then we thought, wait a minute, that wisp of a girl from The Lovely Bones . . . seriously? Seriously. Reunited with her Atonement director, Ronan is Hanna. The daughter of a renegade CIA operative (a very grim Eric Bana), she has been raised and trained by Daddy to kill—and disembowel. And then she and her father, traveling separate routes, are on the run from the Arctic tundra to the Moroccan desert to an ultraviolent climax in Berlin.  

Causing problems along the way is Cate Blanchett as a high-ranking CIA agent, not to mention a femme fatale so icily angry that the only thing she appears to live for is the day when she can nail that rogue bastard’s ass to the personal/ professional cross she’s been keeping for him all these years. There’s also some business about DNA and secret military experiments conducted on fetuses obtained from abortion clinics. 

The Plausibility Alarm went off somewhere in the film’s first scene, and then the thing rang so many times that it finally broke. But what saves it all in the end is Ronan, whose otherworldliness makes her paradoxically credible, here, as Hanna—a creature from another dimension.

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